It's certainly cheesy to compare the service I'm providing you
here to that given by the Son Of God, but where "Mission To
Mars" is concerned, the more cheese the better.
You would think that films, having been made for
about 100 years now, would be getting a bit predictable and
formulaic. You create some characters, you devise some conflict,
the characters overcome the conflict (if it's before about 1986
and it's American), or knuckle under (if it's after 1986 or
you're not American). The credits roll, and the audience shuffles
How brave then, of the makers of "Mission To
Mars" to eschew a logical story, character development, and
any attempt at good science. Actually, that's not quite true.
They do offer up some chin music to Isaac Newton in a
conversation about the tradeoff between getting to Mars fast and
carrying cargo. But once that brief lucid moment has passed, it's
back to business as usual with fanciful flights of fancy.
The whole film is woven with the same thread that
stitched together any number of Fred Astaire movies. You know the
ones where someone plucks up their courage and says, "Say
fellas! Why don't we put on a show?" A series of immaculate
"rehearsal" numbers follow, and then the credits roll.
Well now it's the 21st century and instead of donning our dancing
shoes, we're off to the Red Planet, full cheese ahead.
Never being one to travel alone, I had dragged
fellow reviewer Jazzmaster Beggs to the theatre. In the post-film
mop up, he said his favourite moment was the scene when, after
spending 4 months rushing to Mars to help their pal from the
previous mission -- a pal in medical distress and without much
food or water -- they finally land only to find the American flag
on the ground covered in dirt. So what's the first thing they do?
That's right -- hoist up Old Glory. They rally for a moment or
two, then remembering that they came all this way for a reason,
they go off to find their friend. The Jazzmaster and I saluted in
My favourite moment: there's the bit at the end
(you don't actually care that I'm telling you about the ending,
do you?) where the surviving astronauts come face to face with a
Martian. In an protracted scene, they stand in a circle around
some special effects, and all join hands. I was just waiting for
one of them to start singing "Kumbya", but I guess they
weren't putting on a show after all, and Fred Astaire wasn't even
To Mars (IMDB)
Mission To Mars
(Official Web Site)
NASA Mars Exploration Program